Company in Argentina Scrutinized Over its Organic Grain Practices

Adam Belz reported in today’s Minneapolis Star Tribune that, “For years, American farmers’ battle against fake organic-grain imports has centered on Eastern Europe. Now, an organic farm in South America is being scrutinized.

A lengthy complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and obtained by the Star Tribune, alleges fraud at an organic-grain company in Argentina that exports millions of bushels of organic corn and soybeans to the United States each year.

“The complaint said that Rivara SA deliberately used prohibited fertilizers and herbicides to produce grain that it then passed off as organic to U.S. customers, including the largest U.S. producer of organic chickens.”

“Rooting Out Fake Organic Grain,” by Adam Belz. Minneapolis Star Tribune (August 16, 2019).

The article noted that, “The 115-page complaint against Rivara is painstakingly detailed, and raises concerns in a global supply chain — organic grain — that has been rife with problems as the market for organic poultry, eggs and milk in the United States has quickly outpaced the supply of domestic corn and soybeans to feed those animals.

“Officials at the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) would not confirm receipt of the complaint or say whether an investigation is underway. Matthew Haverstick, a lawyer at Kleinbard LLC in Philadelphia, told the Star Tribune he filed the complaint last December.

“The president of Rivara SA, Fernando Rivara, said in an e-mail to the Star Tribune that the accusations are ‘false’ and that his company has cooperated with the USDA’s investigation.”

Today’s Star Tribune article added that, “It has taken the NOP — a 40-person organization still coming to terms with the scope of the global organic supply chain — several months or even more than a year to formally conclude an investigation.”

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